@email@example.com Since the time periods and regimes we're discussing seem rather vaguely defined:
- When I spoke of modern surveillance society being near intolerable, I'm contrasting it with my own personal experience of the relatively recent past, say, life since 1970.
- More broadly, there's been a recent history of high mobility starting roughly 1800 - 1850 (corresponding largely with industrialisation and motorised sea and land transport), through about 2000.
@firstname.lastname@example.org Travel freedoms weren't complete, but were _extensive_.
Modern passport controls began roughly in WWI.
Ethnic emigration controls existed, though were successively lifted largely ~1920 - 1970 in many areas.
*Internal* migration within nation-states was extensive, e.g., the Great Migration, Westward Migration, Dust Bowl migration, Rust-Belt to Sun-Belt, Brooklyn-to-Miami, California migration ~1930 - 1980, and general rural-to-urban and core->suburb flight.
@email@example.com You also had criss-crossing transatlantic flows, blacks out of the United States, jews in, in the early-to-mid 20th century. Much movement throughout British Commonwealth states. Huge movements throughout Europe.
Generally: an ability from 1800 - 2000 of picking up, moving elsewhere, and starting over again, throughout large (and for that time an expanding) part of the world.
And tracking was ... limited.
Passports and driver's licences: paper-based.
@firstname.lastname@example.org Some banking records and the like.
And the precursors of modern credit bureaux: Dunn and Bradstreet dates to the 1800s (the increased mobility made tracking reputations more important). The first modern novel on con-men, as opposed to mere tricksters, Melville's "The Confidence Man", is set on the high-mobility throughway of its time, the steamboat-traversed Mississippi River. Mobility and distance communications opens new avenues of fraud.
@email@example.com But for the average person, *with the ability to travel*, one that was *widly* available 1850 - 2000, you could, for the most part, get up, transfer, and leave your past behind.
Not perfectly. But as a real possibility.
That ... seems far less possible now, taking a static read. More troubling is the trend, which looks strongly exponential, suggesting the near future will not resemble a decades-to-centuries distant past much at all.
That's my argument.
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